Airline passengers will be hit by price hikes next year, the boss of Ryanair has warned.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said fares will be more expensive in 2022 due to a 25% reduction in the number of available seats than before the pandemic due to airlines reducing their operations.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that prices will rise, particularly during the peaks of the bank holiday weekends, the school holiday travel period,” he told BBC Breakfast.

Michael O'LearyMichael O’Leary said flights will ‘never be cheaper’ than they are this year (Brian Lawless/PA)

“We will be urging people to book very early because I think there’s less seats and pricing will be higher.”

He claimed flights “will never be cheaper” than they are this year, as “all the airlines are running with much lower advanced bookings than we have ever had before because of the travel restrictions”.

He added: “This summer there are going to be great travel bargains.”

Mr O’Leary made the comments as the ban on international leisure travel was lifted for people in Britain.

British Airways boss Sean Doyle told the programme that passengers are benefitting from a combination of “very competitive prices” and “great flexibility” for amending bookings.

“It’s kind of the best of both worlds today for travellers,” he said.

“There’s a lot of airlines out there competing for business, and we will always be competitive.”

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren suggested prices of flights to green list countries such as Portugal will not be raised in the coming months.

He said passengers are “always going to find flights that are exceptionally affordable and provide a lot of value for money”.